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Hello,

 

My nursery nurse rewards the children with sweets. They fall over, they get a sweet, they are missing mummy, they get a sweet, helping to tidy, they get a sweet (you get the picture). Surprisingly the children have not cottoned on to the fact that they could milk this situation if possible.

 

Despite starting a positive behavior Rainbow (the children can move up to the sun and 4 will get a little prize every week) and instructing my nn to follow my lead, she still gives out sweets (and forgets to use the rainbow!).

 

Am i right in thinking that this is bad practice? I'm sure I went on a course once, where we were told that sweets (or any food for that matter) should not be linked to a reward as it could lead to body issues. The children are more than happy to receive a jump up the rainbow!

 

I would love personal opinions on this please, but also, is there any research anywhere that links sweets as rewards with the negative. My nn can be very aggressive (especially when it is something that she has been doing for 25 years), so I need to have some research or something up my sleeve. The school also has a no sweet policy for packed lunches (so this seems hypocritical).

 

MuckyDuck

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I agree with you on this one! Could she be persuaded to use stickers if she want to give an instant reward? I take it she buys the sweets out of her own pocket?

 

If you have a blanket 'no sweets' policy then she's breaking the rules, surely?

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Hi there ....

 

With all the school healthy eating initiatives, I am amazed this staff member deems this as appropriate practice.

 

I am also really surprised no-one else has picked this up - parents or other staff.

 

With regard to the research side of things, Kohn, A. (1993) wrote Punished by Rewards and disputed the use of stickers and other techniques as harmful to young children's development.

 

This is an interesting read - not sure though how useful it will be in your situation.

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I've read about a theory which says that offering extrinsic rewards can actually deter children from the wanted behaviour when the reward is not available. I'll have to put my thinking cap on and work out where I read it.

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This way of rewarding behaviour is linked to behavourism theory, Skinner, Pavlov and Watson to name a few. Behaviourism theories works on rewarding the good and ignoring the not so good, however I do feel that children in the end are working solely for the reward, rather than just the joy of doing something. Its not a theory that I use, however it can have good results for children with very challenging behaviour. In my setting we use positive praise and also the expectation that we all help and support each other, so at tidy up time for instance, we would have done many a circle time session to discuss caring for our environment, sharing etc, the children all enjoy tidying up, as its now an expectation, that everyone does it, all the time we are using positive praise and body language to show our complete joy that all children tidy up.

 

We dont even have stickers at our setting, have never needed them. I also think that children's problems arent really being addressed, by rewarding for everything. the child quickly learns that 'if I do this, I get that', which is all well and good, but what they are actually learning is that every action leads to a reward, which isnt true in the real world, as these children will find out when they transition to school. The teacher will then either have to unpick the attitudes of children who will ask why they arent getting anything for tidying up etc, or start rewarding them.

 

Sorry hope this is clear, its turned into a bit of a ramble.

 

Claire x

Edited by cupcake
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I can hardly believe she thinks that this is acceptable, or that your head hasn't put a stop to this a long time ago. With all the healthy eating initiatives going on now, as well as the possible effects of too much sugar on children's behaviour I don't think sweets as rewards have any place in child care settings except perhaps as prizes or special treats at Christmas/end of term/etc.

 

Have you mentioned it to your head and what is their opinion? (I'm assuming you're in a school here, if not then whoever is in charge).

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I can believe this is still happening in 2010.

 

I feel that if you are working with some behaviour issues maybe the rainbow is a good idea but otherwise verbal praise should be enough. I persume that you are in a school and you should get the head involved if the NN won't take no sweets from you.

 

I learnt with my own son that rewards don't work as if you are naughty - good - reward but good - good rarely gets a reward. Children soon learn which behaviour gets the most rewards.

 

I think I would be really cross if my own children were given sweets at nursery.

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A 7 year old with ADHD comes to me on school transport from a PRU. She often has lollipops, orange & lime tic-tacs or other highly coloured sugary sweets in her hand (or worse, half eaten sweets!)

 

It drives me MAD :o

 

I have a "no-sweets" policy because of allergies, additives etc yet a PRU, of all settings, deems this acceptable!!!! I'm then the "bad guy" when I take them from her and say she can have them back at hometime when it's up to her Grandad, who picks her up, whether she can eat them or not.

 

Nona

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sorry, but this nursery nurse is living in the past.....................evry far int he past, at that! I would absolutely not have this in my setting,under any circumstances. Praise is enough,or a thankyou, but definately NOT sweets. I wonder if she's got a bit of a 'need' for the children to like her over other staff??? whatever her reasoning, i'd say it needs to stop, fast!

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Guest jenpercy

regular rewards do not work anyway. We occasionally reward with sweets. This is aimed at the older children, but only for exceptional good behaviour. most often it is for walking back from school well, if we feel the standard needs to be raised- say once a term or so.

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I had this issue when my now 14 year old was in nursery, in a school with many different cultures including many children from practicing Hindi or Muslim families - I had topoint out to the nursery teacher that giving gelatine sweets not only wasn't appropriate for my vegetarian son or nephew, but potentially offensive to some families! (they changed the sweets at the time, nott he practice, but it seems to have now gone.)

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regular rewards do not work anyway. We occasionally reward with sweets. This is aimed at the older children, but only for exceptional good behaviour. most often it is for walking back from school well, if we feel the standard needs to be raised- say once a term or so.

Oh dear. If 'exceptional good behaviour' is walking back from school well, I'd hate to think what it is like for the staff when the children are having an off day!

 

Maz

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Guest jenpercy
Oh dear. If 'exceptional good behaviour' is walking back from school well, I'd hate to think what it is like for the staff when the children are having an off day!

 

Maz

 

Whoops that came out wrong. There should have been an OR for some area we want to concentrate on, such as walking back well.

 

I have to say that even the "toughest" 11 year old seems to appreciate the occasional sweet as a motivator - and I haven't found anything else to work as well as food for this age group

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Thanks for all of your thoughts guys. I shall use some of the above info when speaking to my nn. As some of you have mentioned, it is bad that no one has picked up on it before now, but this particular lady can be very aggressive and even the head won't reprimand her. I'll give it my best shot though.

 

MuckyDuck

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Hiya,

 

Just wanted to give an update. I mentioned to my head that I wanted to discuss this issue with my nn (as well as the fact that she will eat cakes and choc at the snack table in front of the children having fruit and healthy things!) and my heads reply was "I know she is a nightmare, isn't she?" Argh- BRICK WALL! She verified that my nn should not be doing this but actually appeared to use the nn's 20 years experience as justification for her behavior and that she is stuck in a rut. I was offered no help.

 

When I spoke to my nn she said that no one else has ever complained, and that I am making mountains out a molehill. She sees no problem in rewarding them with a sweet, even when it goes against our policy. RE eating choc in front of the children, she is hungry and I cannot tell her what she can and can't eat. The brick wall is back. :o

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Gosh! That's a shocker. I don't quite know what to say - if the head teacher can't be relied upon to ensure procedure and policy is followed, who can? What do other people on the team think?

 

Maz

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Can you go to the governors about it? I'm not very knowledgeable on how schools are run right at the top, but isn't the head answerable to them in some way? Failing that is there someone in the LA you can contact about this? The only way to fight it might be to stir things up a bit! Do you know what the parents' opinions are on their children being given sweets or the fact that healthy eating rules are being broken by the nn?

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Guest jenpercy
Can you go to the governors about it? I'm not very knowledgeable on how schools are run right at the top, but isn't the head answerable to them in some way? Failing that is there someone in the LA you can contact about this? The only way to fight it might be to stir things up a bit! Do you know what the parents' opinions are on their children being given sweets or the fact that healthy eating rules are being broken by the nn?

 

i be the head wouldn't be so laid back about teachers breaking the rules. you may not be able to tell her what to eat - but you cna tell her that she can't eat it except in her break. OFSTED will expect that staff follow rules for children

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I have been reading this one but not contributing.. so far have been at a loss for words as to how anyone could feel that giving sweets as a reward in a school or nursery environment is acceptable..

 

She has been getting away with it so long now she doesn't see anything wrong in it.. i started working with children in preschools etc over 20 years ago and it was not acceptable then.

 

One thing I do feel is now you have raised the issue it needs addressing or it will never change and continue..

 

in answer to no one else having issues with it.. in my mind this is an opening for you to reply that you do have issues with it and want it to stop ... perhaps some comment about allergies and reaction to colours, religious preferences of parents, undermining parents who may not want children to have sweets except as a special treat.. ( my son reacted to colours and became hyperactive .. even with supposedly natural ones.. I would not have been happy for anyone to give him sweets without my consent!)

 

second issue of her food in front of other children - you cannot dictate what she eats but you can when..not in front of the children, in her own time, any food eaten in front of children has to be the same as they are having.. ( we did this staff had same food as children at snack time.. if different it had to be healthy and they had to provide enough for children to taste if they wanted to.. )

 

If you leave this now it has been started it will never change and she will continue this way even though you are not happy...

 

I do wonder if there is someone you could go to for support.. may be worth thinking about..

 

Inge

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Guest jenpercy

This lady needs to know that you are her boss. If she doesn't like it she has the opportunity to leave (Oh dear!) and then she would have to fit in with someone else.

 

Is there any way to raise the sweets issue with parents. A complaint from a parent would make the HT buck her ideas up and support you.

 

do you have written guidelines (as supplement to job description). If not draw some up and get staff to sign. It seems to me that this is a matter of principle and this lady thinks she is the boss

 

I have been reading this one but not contributing.. so far have been at a loss for words as to how anyone could feel that giving sweets as a reward in a school or nursery environment is acceptable..

 

She has been getting away with it so long now she doesn't see anything wrong in it.. i started working with children in preschools etc over 20 years ago and it was not acceptable then.

 

One thing I do feel is now you have raised the issue it needs addressing or it will never change and continue..

 

in answer to no one else having issues with it.. in my mind this is an opening for you to reply that you do have issues with it and want it to stop ... perhaps some comment about allergies and reaction to colours, religious preferences of parents, undermining parents who may not want children to have sweets except as a special treat.. ( my son reacted to colours and became hyperactive .. even with supposedly natural ones.. I would not have been happy for anyone to give him sweets without my consent!)

 

second issue of her food in front of other children - you cannot dictate what she eats but you can when..not in front of the children, in her own time, any food eaten in front of children has to be the same as they are having.. ( we did this staff had same food as children at snack time.. if different it had to be healthy and they had to provide enough for children to taste if they wanted to.. )

 

If you leave this now it has been started it will never change and she will continue this way even though you are not happy...

 

I do wonder if there is someone you could go to for support.. may be worth thinking about..

 

Inge

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